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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Martin World News

Hey!  I haven't done a Martin World News in like forever (okay, three weeks on the head), and I thought it might be more entertaining than a day where two guys trying to fix my cutter killed it, so I went to sew on the box stitcher which was shredding thread on the average of every three or four attempts, and when I went to the maintenance guy to fix it, he was trying to figure out why the brand new laser light he just installed on a snap machine wouldn't light up.  Well, better than living it, anyway.

ITEM:  Today is our day for news from Norway.  First up, a moose hunter took careful (allegedly) aim at 1,000 pounds of good eatin', fired, and... hit a 70-year-old man sitting on the toilet in his vacation home, conveniently located somewhere behind the moose.  The man was not badly hurt (though probably was glad he was sitting down for this one), and the moose escaped unharmed.  Oddly enough, the story from - which is a bit deficient in details such as how far away the home was, DID manage to mention the victim's wife "doesn't hold a grudge".  Hmmm...

ITEM:  Norway, round two, where deep in a mountain valley lies the town of Rjuken.  So deep, in fact, that most of the six month long winter the mountains block out the sun.  So, the town decided to do something about it.

They set three 183 sq. ft. mirrors up on one of the mountains to reflect sunlight into the valley.  The town rejoiced- except, perhaps, for the man who was making a living cable-carring people up the mountain the last few years to get a winter's look at the sun.

Now I had thought it would be amusing if they were so far north that once they got the mirrors up, they learned that the sun doesn't even rise in the winter!  No such luck, though; the town is in southern Norway and the worst they get is just under a six-hour day.

ITEM:  You would think some people would consider it imperative to get along with their hairdresser, am I right?

TV chef Guy Fieri is one of them, IMHO, but today a video surfaced of he and his dresser- both allegedly drunk- having an altercation on a highway in which Fieri kicked him out of his stopped SUV.  Having seen the video, let me give you the highlights:  You barely see Guy, and the dresser throws wussy punches at him and cries, "You're a (part of the male body whose full name is Richard)" over and over.  With the cold light of sobriety, though they made up.  Which is good, or else America's favorite chef might end up looking like this:

Oh, wait.  That ship HAS sailed...

ITEM:  And now a Russia double-header.  First, the city of Omsk steps into the PC debate over Halloween:

Dressing your child up as a witch or pirate costume and sending them off to a school Halloween party may seem innocuous, but it could actually have "destructive consequences," according to education department officials in the Omsk region.
A letter to the directors of education institutions and municipal departments advised them against celebrating Halloween in the region's schools this year so as not to encourage "extremist attitudes" among Omsk's youth, Interfax reported Wednesday.
Halloween's latent extremist influence has been demonstrated by studies at the Russian Academy of Education's institute of pedagogical innovations as well as the institute for family and upbringing, the department said in a statement.
These studies showed that Halloween's "mystical content, explicit promotion of the cult of death, its personification, can have destructive consequences for the psychic, spiritual and moral well-being of students," the statement said.

I'm sorry, but thinking like that is why your hockey team is 5-13-5 and looking for it's third coach of the year.

ITEM:  Our second story involves the efforts of Moscow to alleviate the traffic jams that clog the city every day.  The bright idea?  Make 'em pay to park!  And not just parking meters, but you can get an app and pay by phone... unfortunately, some are finding that the connection fails and get hauled off anyway.  The deputy mayor of the city claims that traffic in midtown was cut by 25%- though some trackers claim that's just a tad (read completely) exaggerated.  I know, you're thinking, that must be some darn expensive parking fees to cut traffic 25% in six months, cut three hours off the average parking time, and speed up traffic by about 6 kph!  It works out to be- are you sitting down?

Around $1.53 an hour.  Not terribly bad by our standards, but when you figure the average Russian grosses about $5.30 an hour, it MIGHT be a bit stiff...

ITEM: In China, meanwhile, officials are encouraging major websites to be purveyors of positive energy.

Minister of the State Internet Information Office Lu Wei said in an online media forum that mainstream news portals and big commercial websites should play an exemplary role in strengthening management, developing healthy trends, pooling positive energy and contributing to the Chinese dream.

And what exactly is the Chinese Dream?

The official proposed using the Internet to "hear the will of the people, promote advanced socialist culture, and carry forward the virtue of integrity".

Hmm.  I thought maybe Jandi Lin was the Chinese Dream.

As an important bridge linking the Communist Party of China and the government to the people, the Internet should tell stories of common people pursuing their dreams, said the official.
I notice it was "pursuing" and not "achieving".

I would mention this sounds like someone we all know, but we don't dig into the Hard stuff here at MWN!

ITEM:  How about a cute one for a change?  No, no more giant rubber duckies (this time).  Pope Francis was giving a speech (or is that a sermon?) the other day when a little boy ran onto the stage and gave him a hug.

So the Pope patted him on the head, gave him a blessing, sat him in his own chair, and went on with his talk.  How cool is that?

ITEM:  Finally today, Dell has to deal with some pissed off- or maybe on- customers.  They purchased the new Latitude 6430u Ultrabook, at prices around $2,600- only to find the ebook smelled like cat urine- in some cases making the customer physically sick.  It did even worse to one customer:

But it was apparently too late for one unsatisfied buyer, askanyon else, who posted on October 29, that the cat had paid the ultimate price and he had only just noticed this thread.
"I want you to know that I killed our 1 year old cat, thinking it was p***ing on my computer each night and now come across THIS forum telling me otherwise. Not only do I want a new computer, I want a new cat, vet fees, letter of apology and payment for my divorce lawyer, since my wife has left me after finding this out" he wrote.

Boy, I remember that it used to be if you had a computer problem, blame the mouse.  Now, it's blame the cat.

"What?  Surely you don't think I had anything to do with this?"

Monday, October 28, 2013

"I Don't Know", starring Barrack Obama

(Imagine this to a soft piano tune, like something FDR  Fred Astaire would soft-shoe to...)
I don't know why Merkel's pissed off
prob'ly someone on her party line just clicked off
I'm just that guy who wants to spread world peace
Not like Bill Clinton
("Say, how old is your niece?")
It's a troubling question,
So I'll have to say, "I don't know"
(He didn't know, he didn't know, he didn't know...)
Fast and Furious, did Holder mess that up? Er,
I mean, that's something else I never heard of
I been busy up on Capitol Hill
Makin' sure Harry don't have debate on that bill
It's a troubling question,
So I'll have to say, "I don't know"
(He didn't know, he didn't know, he didn't know...)
I didn't know, about no Ben Ghazi
An Ambassador?, Hmm, you really got me
Selling guns to al-Qaeda?  Well, I'll be hung,
I guess Hillary was in the girls room tryin' to look young
It's a troubling question,
So I'll have to say, "I don't know"
(He didn't know, he didn't know, he didn't know...)
Trouble gettin' your health insurance?
(Michelle, it's gettin' hot in here-  turn down the furnace)
I shoulda asked Al Gore, he made the internet, I hear-a
But he's busy counting all his money from al-Jazeera
It's a troubling question,
So I'll have to say, "I don't know"
(He didn't know, he didn't know, he didn't know...)
(Instrumental interlude, as our hero dances around the facts wearing his Nobel medal and his dunce cap)
This ol' White House is gettin' kinda natty
Guess I'll shuffle off to good ol' Cincinnati
The IRS there got in some trouble, I saw
I heard about it on Rush Limbaugh
It's a troubling question,
So I'll have to say, "I don't know"
(He didn't know, he didn't know, he didn't know...)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Message: Success in Life

Ah you're breathing faster
Silence the only sound
There's no need to be nice on the way up
Cos you're not coming down

Genesis, Paperlate
Lately I have heard on secular radio a commercial that goes something like:
"What if there was a way to be prosperous that the banks didn't want you to know... a code in the pages of the Bible?.... Now, Dr. so-and-so, former pastor, will show you this Biblical code..."
So, is there a Biblical code for success in this life?  You bet there is!  I found it last night when I was reading, and it's based on three very simple principles.
#1- Don't Deny...
We are taught from an early age, there's a right and a wrong way to do things.  But that is way too limiting if you want to get ahead on this earth.  You have a fantastic array of talents and opportunities at your fingertips, and to get ahead, you should use them to the fullest.  Why say no just because, "It wouldn't be right"?  What is it you want?  The next promotion?  Find out who's in line for it and undercut them.  What needs to be done?  Do it no matter what it takes, or better yet, let someone else do it and take the credit!  If you have to bend the rules just a little bit, there's no harm- remember, the next guy is doing it to you.  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", the so-called Golden Rule, is not in the Bible... but go get the thing you want, no matter what, is!
#2- ...Glorify!
Being that nice, humble fellow that everyone likes is nice... if you want to be unnoticed at promotion time.  They call it a promotion because you need to promote yourself!  Substance doesn't matter near as much as style.  Go to any high powered office and tell me what you see.  Is it the dirty fingernailed, hard working blue-collar guy, the frumpy mom working two jobs to make ends meet?  No!  It's the Men's Warehouse clothes horse, the woman off the cover of Esquire with her high heels and plunging neckline.  Anyone can go in a factory and do manual labor.  But it's the one who looks good doing the job that produces nothing a person can take home and actually use that makes all the dough.  Don't believe it?  Who makes the most money?  Men who play games for a living, and the better at self promotion, the fatter the contract;  the men who buy and sell companies for a living, never actually making anything, but selling the value of those who do;  and Oprah Winfrey, and others like her whose only real contribution to society is being famous.  Face it, being hard working, normal, ugly- that blows.  You need to blow your OWN horn.
#3- Kiss the bosses' butt.
No matter how high you get, there's always someone higher.  And it's that person who can get you the power you crave.  But they AREN'T going to be impressed with what you have, because they have more.  They AREN'T going to be impressed with how you look, because they look better.  No, the only way to get to them is to TELL them they have more, that they look better, and how impressed you are that they do and how much you want to be like them.  Oh, and one more thing- you have to convince them that THEIR goals, THEIR needs, are more important to you than yours are!  Can you do that, Bunkie?  Well, if you mastered the other two, it should be no problem.
There you have it- the Biblical code for success on this world.  Is it really Biblical?  You bet it is!  Is it from God?
Well.... there's where the problem comes in.  It IS in the Bible, but it isn't God who says it.  Here, let me show you...
 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”[a]
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’[b]
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”[c]
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you,[d] Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”[e]

Gotcha, didn't I?  See, Satan's first temptation to Jesus was, "Cheat to get what you want."  It started with Jesus' hunger- a reasonable enough thing.  We all know you're going to eat once you get back to Galilee... and it's within Your power to "make a snack"... and who's gonna know, and what's it gonna hurt?  But Jesus replied that the things of this Earth aren't the important things; what God wants for us is.

You might say, what about Jacob?  Didn't he cheat to get the birthright, and he prospered... and what about David?  He took advantage of his position to gain Bathsheba... and they were the parents of the wisest man who ever lived, and that worked out okay, right?   Yes Jacob cheated... and as a result he was cheated himself, in that what should have been given to him without price cost him 14 years of hard labor.  And the prize, the woman he loved, was made barren and miserable, and in the end died early.  And David?  He got made a fool of by his own Prophet and lost a baby he prayed day and night for.  He had to fight his own children in order to give the kingdom to the child he loved.  Still sound like such a good deal?

Satan's second temptation always confused me, until I thought about all the work it would have saved Jesus.  None of that travelling on foot and by boat, begging for alms, sleeping "with no place to lay His head".  He could have just set up a throne right there at the Temple and people would have come right to Him- even the Pharisees, who couldn't have denied a troop of angels, after all.  But He replied to Satan, "I have a job to do... and I wish to do it right."

You say, what about Solomon?  He had a throne, a glorious throne, a nation working for him, and he wrote three books of the Bible!  Yes, but look at his life.  He received his wealth from God not because God wanted him to be wealthy- but because he was the wisest man in the world, and it takes a lot for a man that rich to realize he's a fool.  Instead of realizing that God gave him the wealth for it to be his burden, he did what any stupid man would have done with it.  And at the end of his life, he saw that the whole thing was an exercise in vanity, and he would have been better off a simple working man, doing what God had allotted him and enjoying the simple fruits of his labor.

Satan's third temptation was the one with the hook.  There was a price to pay for ultimate power, and that price was to recognize Satan as Boss.  Jesus had a simple answer to that- Get ye hence, only God is boss.  I want you to think here about the story of the Prodigal Son.  Now granted, there are those whose lives they have sealed from God (see the Monday Message a while back), and if they follow the "Biblical Code For Worldly Success", they may well find themselves worldly success.  Remember in Luke 12, there was a rich man who had all that success and all that power, without ever a regret.  Unlike him, the Prodigal still had the lessons his father taught him buried inside.  And eventually, when Satan got tired of trying to "bring him to the dark side", he just took it all away, leaving our hero in a pig troth fighting for corn shucks.  It just doesn't work for the Chosen of God.  If you walk that path, eventually, you will end up at the troth, trying to find the words of repentance.

And the other guy, with no regrets, who wholeheartedly followed the Satan plan?  Eventually, he heard:

But God said unto him, ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?’

The results of working for the Kingdom of Heaven are implicit in the name.  The results of working for the kingdoms of earth, on the other hand, I hope I've made apparent.

Friday, October 25, 2013

And just when all seems lost...

So yesterday, I kick off the morning tweaking something in my back- just enough to make work miserable.  Then, in the middle of cutting some pieces a sewer messed up, the machine suddenly stopped.

No reason, just stopped. 

So like any good IT guy (Hopefully the guys at A Beer For The Shower won't mind I borrowed that line), I shutdown and re-booted. 

"Warning: Your PC doesn't not have a lock."


What followed was an hour of trying to pull various people from a conference call to assess the situation only to figure out, after 5 minutes of actual application to the problem:

"Call the manufacturer."

Who then confirmed the worst: the part of it's brain that connects PC to machine has died.  Thus, I was sent home early and told to stay home today.

Which, if nothing else, was a relief for my back.

Flash to this morning, when shortly after a shopping trip Laurie was in the kitchen putting Mountain Dews in the frig to get cold, began to chuckle.

The missing lens had at last appeared, hiding between her case of MD and the wall.  I haven't the faintest how it got there.  Laurie says she even moved the case and hadn't found it before.  But with the last cans taken out, she picked up the empty and down it fell.

I said, "That means that within ten minutes, Wal-Mart will call and say my new glasses are in."

11:26 AM- couldn't have been two minutes later- my phone rang.

Don't you just love when life is predictable?  So Laurie will pick them up at work tonight and I have the backup pair of glasses I should have gotten in the first place.

Move forward one more time, to this afternoon.  Back still hurts some, and it's cold out there, but  I decide to take Scrappy and Stick to the dog park.  Lesson # 1:  When it's cold enough outside that you can comfortably wear your hoodie around the house all day, it is cold enough to wear a second jacket.  Future reference, doncha know.

Scrappy checking the scene.

Suddenly, a fine little lady enters.

Caught her in a shake.  How does she shake it?
Like that!

Just as I mentioned, "Scrappy doesn't know what to do with a dog that just stands there,"  and her dad said, "She usually plays,"  She made her move.

And then, they left, and we went home.  The end.

And now with the interesting stuff done, the first thing I did with my eyes returned to status quo ante is to figure up how the Martin favorite hockey team leading scorer list is going.  Here's the top 16, with last time's rank and notes about the newbies.

1. (1 last time) Derek Ryan, Rekord, Austria, 14 goals-14 assists-28 points.

2. (2) John Hughes, Rekord, 8-19-27.

3. (18) Jean-Michel Daoust, Stavenger, Norway, 7-13-20.

4. (9t) Dan Kissel, Stavenger, 6-14-20.

5t. (8) Cory Quirk, SonderjyksE, Denmark, 9-9-18.

5t. (NR) Brent Walton, SonderjyskE.  From Georgetown, Ont., he had a year at Dayton in the ECHL in 2006-7, and spent the last couple of years in the German second league.  9-9-18.

7. (6) Petr Sinagl, Sanok, Poland, 8-10-18.

8. (NR) Kurt Davis, Stavenger.  A Plymouth, MA, native and graduate of Minnesota State, Kurt is in his second season with the Oilers.  6-12-18.

9. (15)  Martin Vozdeky, Sanok, 9-8-17.

10.  (On the team leaders who didn't make the list" List) Jaroslav Markovic, Martin, Slovakia.  A native, his brief experience outside of Slovakia was two seasons at Tri-Cities of the old USHL in 2004-5 and 2005-6.  A Martin vet, he's at 7-10-17.

11. (4) Giullio Scandella, Val Pusteria, Italy, 6-11-17.

12. (11t) Jiri Polansky, Trinec, Czech Rep., 5-12-17.

13. (7) Martin Adamsky, Trinec, 10-6-16.

14. (3) Stefan Meyer, Sheffield, UK, 8-8-16.

15t. (11t) Stefan Frank, SonderjyskE, 7-9-16.

15t. (16t) Dennis McCauley, Val Pusteria, 7-9-16.

And the "We lead our team but didn't make the top 16" list:

Lida, Belarus- Pavel Kutsevich, a 30 year-old vet of 375 games in the Belarussian league, 4-7-11.

JYP Jyvaskyla, Finland- Ossi Louhivaara (also on this list last time), 3-10-13.

Rouen, France- Julien Derossiers, 9-5-14.

Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg, Germany- Mark Dzieduszycki (11t last time), 7-7-14.

Yaroslavl, KHL- Sergei Plotnikov, a veteran of the Amur Khabarovsk team in his second season with the new Loko, 2-8-10.

Farjestad, Sweden- Joakim Hillding, a 3-year vet of the team, 7-5-12.

Geneva Servette, Switzerland- Cody Almond (5th last time), 7-7-14.

Tohoku Free Blades, Asia- Go Tanaka, a vet of this tem and, if you can believe this, the now-folded Seibu Prince Rabbits before this, 7-5-12.

New York Islanders, NHL- Frans Nielsen, a Dane who is spending his seventh campaign on Long Island after four years in the old Swedish Eliteserien, 5-6-11.

Fort Wayne Komets, ECHL- They've only had the one game, and in it Mickey Lang scored twice.  He is a Reno, NV, native, who led the Quad City Mallards in the CHL in scoring last year. 

In the meantime, I've decided to do goalies as well.  I'll start filtering in their stories as we go on, but here's the first list:

1.  Ruben Smith, Stavenger, 1.22 goals-against average.
2. Curtis Sanford, Lokomotiv, 1.68.
3. Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Val Pusteria, 1.80.
4. Tuomis Tarkki, JYP, 1.97.
5. Sebastian Vogt, GA Wolfsburg, 2.00.
6.Tobias Stephan, Geneva Servette, 2.06.
7.Alfie Michaud, SonderjyskE, 2.26.
8. John Murray, Sanok, 2.43.
9. Fredrik Pettersson Wentzel, Farjestad, 2.46.
10. Fabrice L'Henry, Rouen, 2.53.
11. Martin Surek, Martin, 2.73.
12. John Muse, Komets, 2.77- however, after one game he has been loaned to the Charlotte Checkers, so I don't know who'll be top gun in the K's nets yet.
13. Evgeni Nabakov, NY Islanders, 2.79.
14. Jean-Phillipe Lamoureaux, Rekord, 2.82.
15. Simon Hrubec, Trinec, 2.86.
16. Frank Doyle, Sheffield, 2.88.
17. Michikazu Hatta, Tohoku, 3.39.
18.  Alex Brish, Lida, 3.71.

Okay, I'm done.  You can wake up now.

Time Machine week 91

 You know, these days it's pretty common to be able to look at a certain event or couple of events and say, "That's really where we've gone around the bend.  Especially if you focus on Washington.  But on this day, October 25th, 1971, we have a pair of bookend events which did the same thing back then.  That first event was the UN, led by the communist states therein and their lickspittle African remoras, throwing Taiwan out of the UN (which, as Taiwan pointed out, was against their charter) and shoehorning Red China into their place.  At this point, no matter what you may have thought of  Chiang Kai-Shek, you may have seen the world taking that slow turn into turning fantasy into reality.  But if it wasn't enough for you to admit we were slowly turning from reality to Bizarro World, guess what happened the same day?

That's right.  Walt Disney World in Orlando was dedicated.

I did NOT say, "Chiang Kai-SHREK"!!!
Welcome to another example of that trend, Time Machine for this week!  This episode, we have: 5 states who all have relatively good examples of native stars for a change; A band that was named something naughty without intending to be; a good example of a song that everyone's done; no six degrees, no 45 at 45, and why; and the finish of AUTUMN MADNESS!  So let's gather round and sing- T-I-M... E-M-A... C-H-I-N-E!!!!

So let's open up the floor to #1s around the globe, and deal with Mamy Blue one more time.  If the #1s globally don't seem to get updated much any more, here's why:  the version by Charisma will be #1 in South Africa the next 12 weeks; three more weeks in France for the Pop Tops; seven more weeks in Switzerland; Germany is one week away from starting its 10 weeks at the top.  In Australia, I need to mention a boo-boo I made- ever since this feature started, I have mentioned that the Band Daddy Cool had the song Eagle Rock at #1... but somewhere in all these weeks I wasn't looking carefully enough because it switched to the song Daddy Cool by the group Drummond!  Well, I got clued in last night when I found another source that not only explained that, but said that both were supplanted this week with Olivia Newton-John 's Banks Of The Ohio.  So I looked at the Go-Set chart (the Australian survey I had been using) and it said, yes, Olivia hits number one- but not till their chart of November 13th, by which Dayde's Mamy Blue had risen to #2! ay-yi-yi!  Everyone else holds steady with the song they had at the top last week, but I also have found a source for the New Zealand charts- and there, a local group called  The Rumour is at the top with L'amour Est L'Enfante De La Liberte (Love Is The Child Of Freedom).  The Rumour was led by twin brothers Shade and Gerald Smith.

Around the nation, Shaft remains at the top on WKNR in Detroit, but CLKW turns to The Chi-Lites' Have You Seen Her.  Everyone else is neatly divided;  LA, Pittsburgh, and Chicago's WLS have Yo-Yo at the top, and WCFL and both Minneapolis stations have Gypsies Tramps and Thieves at the top.

Wrapping up this segment, I note that the AC chart is topped by the Fifth Dimension's take on Never My Love, the R&B by the Persuaders' Thin Line Between Love And Hate, and country still by Lynn Anderson's How Can I Unlove You.

Moving on to the hot 100 debuts this weekI have to start by mentioning that Olivia's Banks Of The Ohio debuts here at#94.  Also coming in this week, Stevie Winwood redoes his 1968 hit with the Spencer Davis Group, Gimme Some Lovin', with his new band Traffic, and it hits at 93; The Chi-Lites come in at 87 with Have You Seen Her; Melanie comes in with Brand New Key at 76; and at 68, a song I knew by the Vogues is redone by Tom Jones.  Till hit for the Vogues at #27 in '68, but they were far from the first or the only in doing this tune.  Percy Faith (#63) and Roger Williams (#22) both charted in 1957; Tony Bennett took it to 35 on the UK charts in 1961; The Angels (famous for My Boyfriend's Back) took it to #14 in '61 as well; and Dorothy Squires, most famous for being the wife of Roger Moore from 1953-69, hit #25 on the UK charts in 1970.

Rog and Dot in1959- before she threw a brick through a window and tried to pull him through it after learning of an affair.

And that takes us to our birthday songs of the week.  First stop is thirty years ago, and we look first at my "big four" (for those who haven't been playing along, 4 songs that were 1-2-3-4 at one point on my personal chart and 1-2-3-5 on Billboard at the same time- we've been waiting to see how they fared on Cashbox.)  Total Eclipse of the Heart was #1, and Making Love Out Of Nothing At All was at #2... True, though, was hung up at 4, and One Thing Leads To Another was at 9.  Next week, the Fixx would move up to #7, but 1-2-4-7 was as close as they'd come to matching me or BB.  But as for the songs that first reached the chart this week, we had just one noteworthy- Big Country's In A Big Country.  Turning 35, we have Chicago's Alive Again, Alice Cooper's How You Gonna See Me Now, and the Village People's Y-M-C-A. 

Turning 40 this week are Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; Loggins and Messina's My Music; Helen Reddy's Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress); one of my all timer's Steely Dan's My Old School; Olivia yet again with Let Me Be There; and Brownsville Station's Smoking In The Boy's Room.  Turning 45, we have Bobby Vinton's I Love How You Love Me and BJ Thomas' Hooked On A Feeling; and turning fifty, Gene Pitney's 24 Hours From Tulsa.  Blow Out The Candles...

At this point I might do the 45 at 45... but this feature, like the six degrees I would do later, are victims of my rules this week.  That rule being, let's not feature the same thing over and over.  You see, last week's 45 at 45 would have been an Otis Redding tune, and this week would have been Aretha Franklin.  On six D, the rule is it has to be a song on the way down in the top ten.  The only song dropping that actually stayed on the top ten this week was Superstar, which I featured in a famous two-week long battle back here.  For those disinclined to go back, I told the story I found in several places about the song's origin, which then was disputed in comments by Steve Fischler of Magnolia Gold records, defender of all things Delaney Bramlett.  He apparently took umbrage that most sources credited a varying mix of involvement from Bonnie Bramlett, Rita Coolidge, and Leon Russell in writing the song, while Delaney jumped in to register it at EMI and gave himself credit.  In the course of the discussion, I answered a comment on the next week's TM, at which point he went back to the first week to answer it.  When he couldn't find the second post comments on the first post (DUH) he accused me of "deleting a lot of stuff".  I told him to get a grip and look in the right spot, at which point he disappeared and never returned.  So, no, we are not revisiting THAT whole scene.

Oh, nearly forgot- the big mover will be in the top 40, the big dropper is So Far Away, falling to 57, a 35-place tumble.

And speaking of tumbling, how about the former top 40 by the Nightliters, K-Jee?  Since it peaked at #39, it dropped to 54, a 15-spot drop.  But then, it went UP 3 to 51, up 3 again to 48, back down 6 to 54 (again), UP 1 to 53, and this week up again 4 spots to #49!  I wonder if it will ever make up its mind...

And now- Autumn Madness semis!  I finally remembered Laurie's votes, and its a good thing, because the other two voters did a complete split!

Summer Breeze vs A Summer Place (2-1 Summer Breeze):  This one is too hard to pick, so I'll go with the voters here.  Seals and Crofts move on.  (See, I am counting your votes sometimes...)

Wishing You Were Here vs We've Only Just Begun (2-1 for the Carpenters):  I'd just like to note that these two AND Summer Breeze were in the top 12 on the Great Seventies Countdown!  But under the concept of the desert Island, I have to go with Chicago here. 

In just a little bit... the championship!

We have 8 songs hitting the top forty this week!  At number 40, up 5, is a song by a band we did a feature on not long ago- 8th Day with You've Got To Crawl (Before You Walk).  At #39 comes the unusual story of the band Fanny.  Fanny was one of the first charting all-girl bands- in fact, they were the first to release an lp on a major label (Warner Bros).    But when the came up with a name, they were looking for a woman's name, something simple that would be like a "spirit" over them, encouraging them.  They came up with Fanny... but WB, like most of us Americans, made the connotation with a woman's butt.  WB used that as a marketing tool, much to the chagrin of twin sisters June and Jean Millington and their bandmates.  It was even worse in the UK- apparently they considered "fanny" a slang term for vagina, and the band became known as "outrageous feminists" which wasn't really the case.  Their tune, Charity Ball, comes in this week at 39, up nine.  A later footnote is that their last incarnation included Suzi Quatro's sister Patti.

At 38, up 9, are the Five Man Electrical Band with Absolutely Right.  The Grass Roots climb 14 to #37 with Two Divided By Love; Chicago is up 15 with Questions 67 & 68; Santana jumps 27 to #32 with Everybody's Everything; John Lennon leaps 37 to #29 with Imagine... But the big jumper this week, up a whopping 43 to land at 24, Isaac Hayes' Theme From Shaft.

And now, let us turn to the map...

This week on top charting acts of the 50 states, we have:

Oklahoma:  BJ Thomas, who rarely makes an appearance on TM without being mentioned twice, had 26 hot 100s and 5 top tens.

Oregon:  The Kingsmen, who with Louie Louie had 8 hot 100s and 2 top tens.

Pennsylvania:  Al Penwasser  Bobby Vinton, who also gets a second mention, had 44 hot 100s and 9 top tens.

Rhode Island:  The Cowsills were Rhode Islanders when they hit the big time; they had 8 hot 100s and 3 top tens.

South Carolina:  James Brown, with a whopping 96 hot 100s and 9 top tens.

Not THAT James Brown!  C'mon, Man!

Three songs enter the top ten, three drop out.  Falling are:  The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (6 to 11), Go Away Little Girl (3 to 12), and Ain't No Sunshine (8 to 13).

ANNNND Now... the Autumn Madness finale!  64 songs started to be Chris' Desert Island choice, two remain-

Wishing You Were Here vs Summer Breeze

Only one of the voters had Wishing... the other two had Summer Breeze, but not to win.  For me, the ultimate song to be on the water with was always Wishing You Were Here... and it works when you're on the beach watching, too.  Chicago takes the AM crown!  Thanks to all y'all who helped out here!

The Persuaders move 2 spots into the #10 spot with Thin Line Between Love And Hate.

Stevie Wonder holds at 9 for a second week with If You Really Love Me.

The Free Movement move freely into the top ten, rising 3 to #8 with I've Found Someone Of My Own.

The Stampeders get stuck at #7 for a second week with Sweet City Woman.

Al Green moves up 4 to #6 with Tired Of Being Alone.

Cher leaps from 14 to #5 with Gypsies Tramps And Thieves.  Must have been the botox.

Lee Michaels moves up a spot to #4 with Do You Know What I Mean.

Superstar by the Carpenters (not by "Superstar" as I stupidly typoed last week) slides a notch to #3.

The Osmonds move into the runner up spot this week with Yo-Yo.

Which means that, for a third week at the top...

...Rod Stewart with Maggie May!!!!!

Next week, I MAY do my Martin Hall of Fame... haven't decided yet.  Come back next week to find out!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A little more meat to the story...

The great lens adventure started right after I took my shower Sunday night, right after Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck completed their first drives.  I sat down at the computer and wiped my lenses on my shirt- which is when it must have popped out.  The entire rest of the night, I was back and forth between the couch and the computer- a three-step walk.  It must have been out then, because I noted somewhat sleepily that when I would go to mark up one of Luck's many scores, I wasn't focusing quite right.  Eyestrain does some of that too, so I just put in eye drops and kept the glasses off except to mark up scores.  I went to bed shortly after the half, because I am an old man and need my sleep.

I woke up to the usual Monday morning blurry-eye fest, and staggered down to see how bad Denver got mauled.  Now it seemed ridiculous, and I told myself my daily "I really need to get new glasses" lecture.  I sat down, put my shoes on, and went to clean the lenses...wait, make that LENS, singular!  Mind you NONE of the other things I did that night did I do with glasses on.  It had to be somewhere between the computer and the couch.

For those of you who don't peruse the comments, let me paste up an answer I gave about the extent of the search:

...the couch has been checked in every possible way several times . In addition to all the likely places, my laundry hamper, the trash in the kitchen and bathroom, under the printer, under the dog cage, under every throw rug, my clothes drawers, under the refrigerator and stove, the living room closet, Laurie's room, the stairs, inside books, in chairs I never sat in all day, the pants I wasn't wearing at the time, kitchen cabinets....

And none of that is an exaggeration.  You should hope to never have a proctology exam as thorough as what that sofa has had about eight times.  But the lens is still gone.  I am beyond clueless as to where it could be, but am on the watch for suspiciously shaped dog turds (even though Scrappy would never eat a non-food item unless it was caked with baked on cheese or soaked in grease).

So I left work at noon (never mind I was a half-hour late) to check the room one last time, get out my insurance, and see if it covered the Wal Mart Vision center (it did.)  We got there at 12:45 and were told the doctor's next opening (which this was the first time I had failed to get right in) was at 3. Great.  So we got something to eat down the street, which took us to about 1:35.  I sent Laurie home to get some sleep, and basically wandered around until 2:55 (when they let me fill out paperwork).  Laurie arrived at 3:20, at which point I was still waiting to get in.  Finally got examined, got out with dilation drops in my eyes, and looked for frames until the assistant called me over to do the insurance thing.

I have good insurance, not ObamaCrap, so it paid for all but a $10 deductible- with one slight hitch.  Wal-Mart accepts my insurance- but not the optometrist, so I had to eat the exam fee.  Still that ain't bad, but the part that convinced me this was God's way of saying, "I have been telling you to get new glasses..."  was what I found among the frame choices...

...that's right, they make Duck Commander frames!  Is that not cool?  "Hey, KC, I'm getting Duck Dynasty glasses!"

So now, I'm fighting gamely through working with my readers, taking it easier on my reading, and.. Oh!  Two other things I wanna mention.  Don't forget to stop by the NHFFL fantasy football page.  Are the State Ducks still undefeated?  Will a power rise from the Purple Division and take control?  You won't know unless you look.  Second, I got Sunday picture news for you all...

Look! they way to Shoaff Park is now OPEN!

Scrappy was beyond excited to add new places to his route!

This new part takes you down from bridge level and across the little inlet and onto an actual neighborhood street.

These folks have a lot of neat little pathways down to the river- which, being private property, we stayed out of.

The street ends at those yellow posts becoming bike-and-foot-traffic only.

Then, up another boardwalk...

This is really scenic and neat- for Indiana, leastwise.

Suddlenly, sunlight breaks around the bend.  What could it be?

A soccer field!  Right at the edge of the park.

Here's the choice- up the paved road, or down the trail into the woods? What do you think?

Now we've been here before- a ravine that forms the southern border.

Oh, those whacky squirrels!

Once around the pond, and it's time to head back.

Here's a big noisy kingfisher that... Crap!  Missed it!

Here's Scrappy wading into the... Crap!  Missed that, too!

Heron fishing on the way home...

I thought I missed him taking off, too! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Could be a little quiet here...

This morning I learned that sometime last night during Sunday night football, a lens popped out of my glasses.  I can trace it back to a time in which I spent the entire time in a ten-square-foot area of our main room- but it is nowhere to be found.  I have to work and surf with my readers, which are okay for stuff right in front of my nose, but bar the door if I have to look more than four feet away- say, to the other end of the Gerber cutter I use at work.

Needless to say, I have new glasses already in the works, but..."  You'll see on the receipt they are supposed to come in on the 28th..."  AKA NEXT Monday.  AKA Chris will be coming home with headaches the next four days.

So depending, some things I might normally post about will have to wait... And Time Machine could be late.  And I probably won't be getting to that "Who my hockey teams' leading scorers are" post for a while.  I can tell you the former Aussie league leading scorer Michael Forney got his first couple of goals in Austria yesterday.  Buck up, I know you're disappointed, but we'll all be okay.  It's only seven days.

Grumble mutter grouse...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Message

There are a lot of little threads converging on this post for me, that all began with my realization that God wants me to move forward and not just say, "Don't worry about it, He'll forgive it."  He'll work with me if I work for it.  Those threads will end in a little boat on the Sea of Galilee, but they started on the football field in Buffalo way back in November 2010.

Yesterday this was brought up by my son, who has apparently downloaded a "stupid tweets" app onto his phone.  He found this one that was tweeted three years ago after Bills WR Stevie Johnson did what he does best- he dropped a pass:

I told KC about a SM from just a few weeks ago when I spoke on rants like this.  Remember this?

Here is where the cork popped.  I had a long one sided talk with God that involved a lot of whining and complaining, and saying Job was right all along.  What is the point of being faithful if it only gets more crap piled on top of you?

And I knew certain facts about such an eruption.  First, it was petty, pointless, and stupid.  Second, it was an argument I was never gonna win.  Third, the tension release would give me a short-term release, followed by feeling guilty and stupid, because I'd just done what Satan wanted.  And finally, because I'd done what Satan wanted, something would shortly happen to make me feel two inches tall.
On queue, my top boss came out and said, "well, (the lady who does canopies) has five or six back there.  I think Debbie will be in Saturday, so she can cut some if she needs more.  If you can get six or seven covers (I was cutting the fifth one at the time), we should be okay."


Well, now Stevie and I have something in common.  And while I can't speak for Stevie, I knew better.  Because Jesus is sleeping in the boat.

HUH?  Bear with.

As I read this morning before the sermon, I hit Daniel 6, where Belshazzar has just seen the handwriting on the wall, but doesn't know what it means.  Or does he?  Because Daniel points out that Belshazzar knew what had happened to his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar for not humbling himself before God- and because he had this example, and still turned to his sinful ways, it was going to be much worse for him.

Then I rumbled into Hosea, and got hit by two related verses- well, not related to Belshazzar, but to myself.  The second one was in 6:4 where God through Hosea admonishes, "For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud; and like the early dew it goes away."  The first one though, hit me the more for the way it was written.  Because of all the translations I have access to, none of them puts it quite the way it is in the battered old Bible the UAW gave us when Mom died.  The translation is called "the New American Bible (not New American Standard, mind you), an American Catholic translation.  In it, Hosea 5:11 reads like this:

"Is Ephraim mistreated, his rights violated? No, he has willingly gone after filth!"

I like this, because it puts it in the form of a yes-or-no question.  Is God unfair?  Or is it me?  If I sin, if I fall into hard times, where does the blame lie?

I have been debating lately on the paradox of how things seem to go easier when you are being a lazy Christian, but should you tighten up your obedience, you end up like me and Stevie- hitting the storms and blaming God for them.  And this is where we get to this morning's sermon.

The story is when Jesus and the Apostles, exhausted from non-stop preaching to a crowd that had literally pushed them offshore, decided to cross the sea to get some down time.  While Jesus crashed, a storm came up.  Peter and co. were passing out the buckets, bailing as fast as they could, as the wind and waves rocked the boat and threatened to swamp it.  Meanwhile, Jesus was STILL SLEEPING.  And this kinda teed them off, and they woke Him up, shouting, "Don't you care we're gonna die???"

So here's the important question- WHY was Jesus sleeping?  BE-cause, He had equipped them with everything they needed to handle the situation THEMSELVES.  But they booted the ball.  All they needed was faith, and He had shown them that time and again.  And, since they were perfectly capable of handling the storm, Jesus slept while the storm went on.

Do you hear my voice, or Stevie's, in the Apostle's cry?  Do you hear yours?  One thing to take into account here is that when the journey started, the goal was to cross the sea and get some rest.  But when the storm hit, the Apostles' goal contracted down to surviving the storm.  But Jesus' goal was still the same- getting to the other side to rest.  When the storm hits, we contract the goal down to surviving the storm- whether it be a major financial blow, a rocky spot in marriage, illness, what have you.  Or, dropping a football.  But if Jesus is in our boats, we have what we need to get across, through it, if we're not too busy panicking, screaming for help, blaming God for the whole mess.

So what does this have to do with moving forward?  Well, it occurs to me that their are two ways we can deal with the battle between our sinful nature and moving forward- the extreme or the non-extreme.  For example of the first, you can demand of yourself to never commit the sin again, focusing all your efforts, all your prayers, all your "faith", on the problem.  And when you slip up, as you will inevitably do, the whole structure of your "faith" collapses, and the boat sinks.  Another example is like I said at the top of the thing, "Forget it, it's forgiven,"- and you follow a wrong perception of Jesus example, and sleep it away.  And the boat sinks.

The non-extreme is a different bird.  The lessons from the storm on the sea here are-

- The goal lies BEYOND the storm.
- You have the equipment to deal with it.  What Jesus did by faith, you can do, too- if not so successfully.
- Jesus is in the boat.  You WILL make it to the other side.  Just gotta put some faith and some work into it.
--The Apostles survived, but I'll bet they were soaked when it was over- and maybe in need of a change of underwear.  It's okay to get a little wet, you'll dry. (meaning don't let your whole faith collapse if you fall.)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hey, I got more pictures!

But first, I was just over at another blog where the discussion veered from the topic of "blogger respect" onto the concept of comment-to-pageview ratio.  I thought, hmm, I wonder where I fit in here.  So I looked at my top ten all time posts- and through all that time, I didn't try and fish my comments and undeleted spam comments from before I started moderation.  How did it come out?  Well the first big post I ever did- the legendary fight that began with whether the government is there to promote the most good for the most people or protect the rights of the "lone voice" and ended with a three-way battle on atheism, What Government Is For- racked up 55 comments (the record on TAW) over 290 pageviews for a whopping 5.22 PPC (Pageview per comment).  The rest of the all time top ten?  A grand total of 41.7 PPC.  Time has gotten kinder, even with comment moderation.  With my own comments removed, the top ten over the last month was a grand total of 3.6 PPC.  So what does all that mean?  I shoulda developed comment moderation YEARS ago!  Then it might have meant something!

Anyway, today's walk featured some slight detours into areas we don't usually travel, where we found...

 A fallen tree doubling as a forest homeless shelter...

A squirrel urinal... 

"Help me, help me!  I gots too many vines..."

This tree fascinated me- so many branches apparently sawn off.  Had this been a yard at some point?

Stick found an old coke bottle.  Sure wish it hadn't been broken...

Another one of those things that fascinates me.  The isolated patch of grass in the middle of the woods.
About as rotten as you can get? Check!

A trail inside the woods paralleling the back trail outside.

Squirrel habaneros?  I crushed one, didn't smell like anything.  Green inside with a black seed.  Taste?  Don't ask me!

True story, as I took a rest.
Dad: "I suppose you're ready to go?"
Scrappy: "Hmmpf."

The beach is just down from the bend in the creek.

Once pretty uniform, it got deeper in this pool after this spring's flooding.

Scrappy spotted him from fifty feet away- but can't see a toy across the room.  Go figure.
Chipmunk shelving!  Convenient, and comes in white...

....and brown!

Now that the horse chestnuts are slowing down, the hickory nuts are dropping.

Scrappy smells him, but I see him.

Drat!  Foiled again!

Closed signs on the south bridge again?  No, Just patching up the road near it.

Our big puffball blew up, leaving but a lonely earthworm to mourn its demise.
Wooly Worm says mild winter- plenty of brown.  Scrappy tried to taste him...

...immediately thereafter eating grass to remove the taste.

 And a bright red chopper finishes the trip.